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35 years ago today, 'Jaws' made everyone stop swimming



jaws.jpgSteven Spielberg's Jaws hit movie theaters 35 years ago today. Twenty-five years ago, people started to swim again.

Here are just a few fun bits of trivia about the movie that would become the first hit movie of the blockbuster era of Hollywood.

SMALL BEGINNINGS: Jaws was the first movie to have a wide release -- 464 theaters on opening night. It would gross $7 million that weekend, later pulling in more than $470 million, making it the highest grossing film of all time ... for two years until Star Wars broke the record.

CASTING CHOICES: Robert Shaw wasn't the first choice to play Quint; it was Sterling Hayden, whose battle with the IRS over unpaid taxes was too much of a distraction. (Shaw had IRS problems after the movie as well.) Likewise, Charlton Heston was considered for the role of Chief Brody. (Heston vowed never to work with Spielberg after being turned down for the role. ) If author Peter Benchley had his way, it would have starred Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.

AND THE SHARK WAS...: Of course the shark had a name. It was "Bruce." (Spielberg also called it "the great white turd" when mechanic problems got in the way of production.) "Bruce" reportedly was the name of Spielberg's lawyer.


THE LOCALE: Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts served as "Amity Island."  Residents were paid $64 as extras to scream and run across the beach when the shark is spotted. However, the first shark caught in the movie -- mistakenly believed to be the man-eater -- was far too big to have actually been caught off Martha's Vineyard. Congratulations, Florida, that's our shark in that scene.

AND THE MOST FAMOUS LINE...: According to and writer Carl Gottlieb, the line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" was not in the script. It was improvised by Roy Scheider.

AT THE OSCARS: Jaws was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning three (best film editing, best music, best sound). John Williams, who scored the music, was also conducting the orchestra for the Oscars. When he heard his name announced as a winner, he ran up to get his trophy then ran back to continue conducting. The movie was also nominated for best picture. It lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.


[Last modified: Monday, June 21, 2010 1:58pm]


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